Karnataka's efforts to convince the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to reduce the just-hiked toll on the road to the airport proved futile on Tuesday.
NHAI upped the toll for cars from Rs 30 to Rs 75 on Sunday. PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa, who held talks with NHAI representatives at his office in Vidhana Soudha, expressed his helplessness in getting them to bring down the hike — of up to 350 per cent for some categories — which has triggered protests. Regular users of the highway to the Kempegowda International Airport, however, can use passes, which offer a 33 per cent concession on the new rates, he said.
"The toll is being revised in accordance with the national toll policy. The state government had signed the agreements in 2008 and 2011. Only parliament has the authority to make changes to the toll policy," Mahadevappa said, pointing fingers at the previous BJP government for not safeguarding citizens' interests.
He said he had convinced NHAI to issue 15-day passes to help cab operators. For cars, it would cost `1,280 for 25 single trips. He said similar passes, offering a 33 per cent concession, would be available for buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles.
The elevated road cost about Rs 220 crore to build, Mahadevappa said, pointing out that elevated roads cost more.
In this case, the 3.72 km elevated road has eliminated nine intersections and reduced the time required to reach the airport, he said.
He appealed to the Central Surface Transport Minister Oscar Fernandes to reduce the toll.
New pass rates
Cars (50 single trips): Rs 2,560
Cars (60 single trips): Rs 3,000
The toll for a single trip has gone up from Rs 30 to Rs 75.